SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of South Korean tourists to Japan has hit an all-time high this year as the yen’s continued weakness makes travel to the neighboring country cheaper, industry data showed Sunday.
A total of 2.86 million South Koreans visited Japan in the first nine months of the year, up a whopping 43.1 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the data by the state-run Korea Tourism Organization (KTO)
The tally already has surpassed the previous full-year record of 2.6 million set in 2007.
In September alone, the number of South Korean tourists to Japan surged 38.6 percent on-year to 301,700, according to the data.
Industry watchers attributed the jump in South Korean visitors to the neighboring country mainly to the weakness of the Japanese currency.
The won-yen arbitrated exchange rate has been hovering below the 1,000 mark, making it less costly for South Koreans to visit Japan.
Other factors include Japan’s easing of visa rules for South Korean tourists and duty-free benefits, according to the watchers.
The KTO forecast the number of South Korean tourists to Japan to keep rising down the road.
“More South Koreans are likely to visit Japan as the Japanese currency is expected to remain weak against the won due to Abenomics,” a KTO official said. “Demand for shopping in Japan will also likely rise due to the country’s proximity.”